Catalog Archive
Auction 164, Lot 708

Ortelius' Rare Two-Sheet Map of Egypt

"[On 2 Sheets] Aegyptus Antiqua", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Egypt

Period: 1584 (dated)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.1 x 15.6 inches
48.5 x 39.6 cm
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This stunning two-sheet map of ancient Egypt is one of the most decorative and dramatic of maps prepared by Ortelius himself. It derives from the cartographic sources of Diodor, Herodotos, Strabo and Plinius. The top sheet includes an inset of Alexandria and its surroundings, and the bottom sheet features a dedication cartouche to the humanist and medical doctor Scipio Fabio from Bologna. A large inset table lists those place names and regions of which the location was not certain. The map is decorated with spectacular strapwork cartouches, ships sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, pyramids, and a bold border. Latin text on verso, published in 1592. This two-sheet map was replaced with a single sheet map of the region in 1595 and is quite rare on the market today. Unjoined, as issued.

References: Van den Broecke #219-220.

Condition: A

Nice impressions on paper with Ortelius' common crossed arrows watermark. There are a couple of short, archivally repaired edge tears, and the northern sheet has a very narrow bottom margin, as issued. Please note that the main image is a composite image - the map is in two separate sheets.

Estimate: $2,200 - $2,750

Sold for: $2,100

Closed on 9/13/2017